Relationships and Marriage

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Step-Parents and Child Discipline

As a new step-parent, is it appropriate for me to discipline my step-children? I recently married a fantastic man who has two teenagers. These kids have had little or no discipline or structure for at least four years (since their mom and dad got divorced). They refuse to do any chores – like cleaning their rooms, cleaning up after themselves in the kitchen, or doing their own laundry. Both are rude and disrespectful, and I'm concerned that their bad habits won't help them once they move away and live on their own. What do you suggest I do?

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Addictions and Marital Counseling

Will marriage counseling be effective if my spouse has a drug addiction and is unwilling to get help? My wife has been hooked on prescription meds for the past three years. It has taken over our lives and has devastated our relationship. She's able to hide much of it from the outside world, but the impact on our home life is undeniable. I find myself dealing with and responsible for everything – much as a parent does with a young child. I'm not sure that there is much hope for us, but I'm willing to try. Although she won't seek treatment for her substance abuse, should we at least start with marriage counseling?

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College Student Concerned About Over-Anxious Mother

How can I help my mom prepare for my upcoming departure for college? I'll be leaving in a few weeks, and I'm afraid she won't be able to handle it when I go. Like any good mother, she's very protective and worries about me. But it seems to me that her worrying is getting out of hand.

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Wife Has Sexual Misunderstanding With Husband

How can I make my husband understand that I don't want to have intercourse as often as he does? When I respond that I'm not in the mood, he gets angry and tells me that there are all kinds of things that he does for me when he's "not in the mood" – like going to work, washing the dishes, helping with the housework. I've tried to explain that it's not the same thing, but either he isn't listening or he doesn't believe me. Is there something wrong with me?

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When Not to Submit to Your Husband

Is it ever appropriate for a woman to question her husband's judgment or to oppose his decisions when she believes he's in the wrong? If so, how does this fit in with Ephesians 5:22, where Paul says, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord?" Are there any biblical examples of wives who took this kind of stance?

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Non-Christian In-Laws

Can you give me and my spouse some tips for relating to family members who don't share our Christian faith? My in-laws aren't believers, and this has sometimes led to awkward or difficult situations at family gatherings.

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Living With a "Spiritually Mixed" Marriage

How can I best relate to my unbelieving spouse? I understand now why the Bible urges us not to be "unequally yoked." We're not on the same page spiritually, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to reconcile our differences in this area. What would you recommend?

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Building a Christ-Centered Home

Can you help me understand what it means to build a family life that is truly founded upon Christian values? My spouse is always talking about the importance of having a "Christ-centered home," but I don't really know what that means. I grew up in a family where people's actions rarely matched their religious words, and I don't want to repeat that pattern. Any ideas?

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The Spiritual Aspect of Marriage

Do you believe that couples who possess a strong faith have an advantage over those who don't? To put it another way, how important is the spiritual side of a marriage relationship? Is it crucial that husband and wife share the same faith and practice it together? If so, why?

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Strained In-Law Relationships and Family Gatherings

Do you have any advice for dealing with extended family members who don't get along? My in-laws like to host big get-togethers with all the relatives, but they're always marked by tension and dissension. I don't want to offend my spouse or his parents, but I'm tired of all the conflict. Can you suggest a solution?

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Recovering From a Disappointing Affair

How do I move on from an affair that ended in disappointment? I had hoped that my status as "the other woman" would eventually change after my lover left his wife and family, but that didn't happen. Now all I feel is sad, broken, and alone.

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Husband Struggling With Erectile Dysfunction

Do you have any help for a man who has suddenly found himself struggling with erectile dysfunction? My wife and I are in our mid-fifties, and up until a year ago we had a healthy and vigorous sex life. That was when, almost overnight, I began having issues. I'm embarrassed and frustrated to the point that I'm afraid to initiate love-making with my wife. She's been very kind and understanding through all of this, but my inability to pleasure her like I once did is very upsetting to me. I'm afraid and don't know what to do.

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How to Approach a Marital Separation

Can you provide some guidance on how to navigate a marital separation? Our marriage has been plagued by conflict and emotional pain for a long, long time. As a result, we've come to the conclusion - sadly and reluctantly - that we need to get away from each other for a while. I honestly don't know if our relationship is going to survive, but for the sake of our kids and our own sanity I want to go about this process in the best way possible. Who should we tell? How should the two of us interact while separated? How do we handle finances and other practical matters? What other issues do we need to consider?

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Things to Consider Before You Separate

Would you advise separation for married couples who feel that they've come to the end of their rope? For years our marriage has been plagued by destructive patterns of behavior and deep hurts. Under the circumstances, I'm wondering if it might be best to live apart for a while, if only as a temporary measure. At the same time, I worry about how this might affect our children. What do you think we should do?

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Woman's Boyfriend Has "Toxic" Buddies

What should I do about my boyfriend's "party friends"? He's a great guy, and we're considering a long-term relationship, but he insists on maintaining his connections with this group of people despite the fact that I totally disagree with everything about their lifestyle, behavior, and beliefs. My boyfriend and I try to embrace clean, positive, healthy values, but these friends of his don't. And while he doesn't participate in their "extra-curricular activities," I still feel anxious whenever he spends time with them. Any advice?

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Sex At Its Best

Is marital sex really more satisfying? I'm in a difficult marriage, and one of the biggest sore spots between me and my wife is the whole issue of sex. I feel deprived. Sometimes I'm even tempted to explore the possibility of getting my needs met somewhere else. I read an article claiming that married couples are actually the most sexually satisfied people in the entire population – not the single swingers with lots of sexual partners. I find that hard to believe! I don't want to be unfaithful to my wife, but I can't deny my feelings or squelch my sexual desires. Is there a better way to resolve the situation I'm in?

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Rekindling a Marriage As Empty Nesters

Now that our kids are gone, what can we do to revitalize our relationship? I thought our marriage was healthy and vibrant – that is, until the last of our three children left home. I realize now that it was the kids who brought life into the house, and that so much of our marriage was centered around them and their activities. Without them, my husband and I are lost. I have too much time on my hands. The two of us have nothing in common, and my husband is spending more time at work and with his buddies so that he doesn't have to deal with our issues. What should I do?

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Planning a Wedding With Acrimonious Divorced Parents

How do we keep my divorced parents from spoiling our wedding? I'm engaged, but as the wedding approaches my husband-to-be and I are beginning to fear that our big day may become an occasion for major family strife. My parents haven't been on speaking terms for years. It's a terribly awkward situation, and it's filling my head with visions of embarrassment, disaster and ugly "scenes." What do you think I should do?

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Grandparents Filling in for Busy Moms and Dads

Should we as grandparents assume the responsibilities of parents? Our son and his wife both work and have extremely busy lives - probably too busy. My husband and I frequently find ourselves taking care of our grandchildren so that their mom and dad can keep up with the demands of a hectic schedule. We love being with the kids and don't mind helping them in this way. But sometimes I'm plagued by nagging doubts. Do you think this is a good arrangement?

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Bipolar Spouse Refuses to Seek Treatment

What should I do about my husband's refusal to get professional help with his bi-polar disorder? I want our marriage to work, but the strain on our relationship is becoming too much to bear. Do you have any advice for me?

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Husband Spends Too Much Time With Video and Computer Games

Is it reasonable to think of my spouse's obsession with video and online games as an addiction? Every night when he comes home from work, he goes straight to the television or computer. On weekends he devotes hours on end to gaming. I'm very concerned about his behavior. Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

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A Grown Child's Attitude Toward Parental Authority

Now that I'm past 18, should I still "submit" to my mom and dad? The Bible says that children should "obey" their parents (Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20), but at what point do I become fully independent of their control?

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Financial Strains at Christmas

How can we enjoy Christmas when we have to spend so much money on presents? We're stressed about finances all year, but it gets worse during the holidays. Any suggestions?

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Newlyweds Discovering That Married Life Can Be Hard

Is it normal for me to wish I wasn't married to my spouse? I guess we still love each other, but married life doesn't look anything like the hopes and dreams we had while we were dating. We're getting worn down from the hardships and disappointments that seem to keep coming our way. How can we turn this situation around?

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